08/18/2013 - 07:16

Unlike the heart muscle, the musculature of the locomotive organs has the capacity to heal itself. What makes this possible are muscle-specific stem cells known as satellite cells. Located on the muscle fibres, these cells can multiply when necessary and replace damaged muscle cells. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research recently succeeded in elucidating the role of an important factor in the regulation of self-healing. One of the ways this knowledge could be used in the future is in engineering optimal conditions for creating replacement stem cells in the lab, thereby producing a potential way of treating degenerative muscle diseases.


06/10/2013 - 10:21

The mechanism responsible for generating part of the skeletal support for the membrane in animal cells is not yet clearly understood. Now, Jean-François Joanny from the Physico Chemistry Curie Unit at the Curie Institute in Paris and colleagues have found that a well-defined layer beneath the cell outer membrane forms beyond a certain critical level of stress generated by motor proteins within the cellular system. These findings, which offer a new understanding of the formation of this so-called cortical layer, have just been published in EPJ E.

07/20/2012 - 16:03

Muscle contraction and many other movement processes are controlled by the interplay between myosin and actin filaments. Two further proteins, tropomyosin and troponin, regulate how myosin binds to actin. While theoretical models have in fact described exactly how these muscle proteins interact, this interaction has never previously been observed in detail.

02/15/2012 - 13:19

Scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Hamburg, Germany, have discovered that the elastic part of this protein can stretch to two and a half times its original length, unfolding in a way that was hitherto unknown.